Monday night I think I experienced what the kids call a “micro-aggression.” I was roaming after Mass on a pleasant spring evening (I had a deadline, and yes, I was procrastinating). I happened upon a Paper Source store. I occasionally buy stationery with the good intention of writing notes — I sometimes do, but then when I do, I forget to send them. This time, I was thinking, would be different.
And it sure was, but not in the way I expected. I suspect it’s an exaggeration to say that the well-known four-letter f-word expletive was the inventory’s favorite word, but it sure was in your face as you looked around. Cards and other items were all kinds of off-color. And there were the homages to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris. I expected pretty stationery. I had no idea what I was in for.
The one obvious exception to the rule were some items in the front from Rifle Paper Co., which I’ve heard wonderful things about (both the products and the family that runs it). Not to get too serious about paper, but what I noticed at the store seems to be part of a broader problem.
On Holy Saturday, I spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon outside a Planned Parenthood in Lower Manhattan, as I had been doing increasingly during Lent, prodded by the 40 Days for Life campaign. I’m now what is called a sidewalk counselor, offering information and an ear to any girl who would like to know about resources to choose something other than abortion. I say “girls” because so many of them are literally girls — and even those who are legally adults have been robbed of innocence by our culture and no doubt by events in their lives.
A few gals on Saturday said they were going in for birth control, to prevent the need for an abortion later. I’m near certain no one ever told them in any convincing way that they are worth waiting for.
Much later that day, I stood in line for a slice of pizza after the Easter Vigil in Greenwich Village. It was 11 p.m. Even during a pandemic, you can imagine the scene. There was a young couple standing behind me, and when the girl was delaying making a pizza decision, the boy said to her, “You f***ing drunk b****.” And she laughed hysterically in her inebriation. This is what girls are getting birth control for? To be treated like this? To let themselves be treated like this?
These girls have no idea how beautiful they are in every way — this is how they were made. But their heroes — Kamala Harris and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg among them — seem to equate feminism with codifying the values of the Sexual Revolution, which harm girls and women. And they are drowning in these values. I don’t see women’s empowerment, but misery. The girls I most often find myself talking to are tender-hearted girls who know no other option than Planned Parenthood.
If by some miracle they stepped away from their phones to buy some stationery, they’d be put right back in the dark. Because even stationery has to be about women who celebrate sex and abortion, apparently. Call me crazy, but I prefer flowers.